WASHINGTON, DC – August 17, 2022 – Public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the coronavirus pandemic is overwhelming and confusing. In a video distributed to the CDC’s 11,000 employees, the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky has acknowledged many problems including a slow emergency response and public uncertainty involving testing, data and communications. The CDC proposes a path forward through reorganization. On August 17, 2022, Dr. Walensky said, “My goal is a new, public health, action-oriented culture at the CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication and timeliness.” The recent monkeypox outbreak has reemphasized the need to reorganize the agency.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the agency has been criticized. During the Trump administration, it was encouraged to alter health guidance and, sometimes, withhold it from the public. Early on, the CDC also was unable to create an effective COVID-19 test, further hindering efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Leadership proved to be ineffective because the leaders of the COVID response team were frequently rotated. Important information was oftentimes delayed; on one occasion, this led to a delay in authorizing booster shots. Working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a deterrent to employee motivation and inspiring a shift in culture.
According to a recent comprehensive independent review and evaluation of the CDC, the public has lost trust in the agency’s ability to navigate a public health emergency. The review concluded that the CDC needs to:
- Respond faster to emergencies and disease outbreaks
- Be able to better identify public health needs
- Effectively communicate information to the public, state and local health authorities
- Use every-day language in communications
- Make public health information easily accessible on the CDC website.
Employees are going to be encouraged to make an impact on public health in contrast to the former emphasis on scientific publication.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, email@example.com